December 22, 2010: The Jordan Brand Classic, an annual game starring the nation's top prep basketball players and run under the auspices of Nike and Michael Jordan, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in North Carolina, where Jordan grew up and then starred at the University of North Carolina before embarking on his NBA Hall of Fame career.
The 2011 Jordan Brand Classic is scheduled for April 16 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, which is home to the NBA's Bobcats. Jordan is the majority owner and head of basketball operations for the franchise.
The Jordan Brand Classic will also feature a regional game with the top high school players from the state of North Carolina and an international game with the top 17-and-under players from around the world.
In addition to Nike division Jordan Brand, marketing partners include Gatorade, Upper Deck and Foot Locker.
The first two Jordan Brand Classic games, in 2002 and 2003, were played at the MCI Center in Washington, during the time Jordan was a member of the Washington Wizards. The game in 2004 was moved to the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland. From 2005-2010 the Jordan Brand Classic was played in New York at Madison Square Garden.
The game is regarded as a significant national stepping stone for prep players prior to their college and then potential NBA careers. Former participants include LeBron James, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Rudy Gay and Andrew Bynum.
“The Jordan Brand Classic has always had a special place in my heart, as my last high school game and as a national springboard into my success in college and on the professional level,” Chris Paul, an all-star guard with the New Orleans Hornets and also a spokesman for Jordan Brand, said in a statement. “To hold the 10th anniversary game in my home state and where the brand truly started is a testament to all of the great players who have put on a Jordan Brand Classic jersey through the years.”
Former participants include LeBron James, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
The 2011 Jordan Brand Classic All-American Team will be unveiled in February. In addition to the game, the Jordan Brand All-Americans will also participate in activities that help "reinforce the message of hard work extending beyond the hardwood and into the community." It is expected that Jordan himself, as well as a number of former participants, will attend the game. Jordan won a national championship with North Carolina in 1982 and played in the NBA from 1984-1998 and 2001-2003, all but two of those seasons with the Chicago Bulls.
According to Keith Houlemard, president of Jordan Brand, “We are thrilled that for ten years the Jordan Brand Classic has been the premier destination where the biggest names in youth basketball can display their talents in a competitive environment while also receiving teaching that will leave them equipped to reach their goals of being successful both on and off the court."